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Safaricom calls in new strategy

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 26 – As the battle for market share heats up in the telecommunications sector, Safaricom says it is seeking to unlock new revenue streams to maintain its profitability.

Safaricom Enterprise Business General Manager Sylvia Mulinge said the operator is looking at improving the value chain of its data business especially with the introduction of country governments.

Ms Mulinge said Safaricom was exploring value added services such as e-learning and e-health to sustain the growth of the business.

"Safaricom has employed a wide-network infrastructure across and there is therefore opportunity for us to layer on services that make a difference to the mwananchi," Ms Mulinge said.

The telecommunications sector has over the last six months witnessed price wars on the voice segment. The sector is now entering a new battlefront with the introduction of number portability.

Ms Mulinge said Safaricom is positioning itself to connect the county governments by doubling its efforts in establishing data centres across the country.

"We have set up 800 digital villages and target to push the number to 5,000," she said.

Speaking during the Connected Kenya Summit in Diani last week, Safaricom Chief Executive officer Bob Collymore said the firm\’s connectivity solutions could be deployed to link key governance and administration units and systems to ensure seamless delivery of services in all parts of Kenya.

"It starts with listening to the questions Kenyans are asking and observing the challenges they are facing; and then answering those questions by providing solutions," Mr Collymore said.

Last year, Safaricom introduced Tele-Justice that connects the Nairobi and Mombasa Court of Appeal, providing space to have cases resolved quickly through a video link.

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According to Ms Mulinge, Safaricom is currently in the process of testing its e-health services. The operator is working with Cisco to roll out the service across the country, enabling patients in rural areas to consult doctors in urban centres at their convenience.

"Medical practitioners have bought into the idea but the challenge we got from them was to make the service cost effective so that the service becomes easy to deploy," she said adding the medical centres would ride on its digital village infrastructure.

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